Students Prepare Free Tax Returns
More than 50 University of St. Thomas accounting students, alumni and friends are volunteering doing free income tax return preparation and electronic filing through IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Hundreds of community members participate in the VITA program every year.
Volunteers file tax returns from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday until April 13 at the MD Anderson YMCA, 705 Cavalcade, 77009. Spanish speaking volunteers are also available for tax filing, and no appointments are necessary.
Ramon Fernandez, assistant professor and certified financial planner program director in the Cameron School of Business, said the site is open to any UST faculty, staff member or student, and the public who has a relatively simple return.
“We will do Forms 1040EZ, 1040A and even the ‘long form’ 1040,” Fernandez said. “We will do itemized deductions – Schedule A, interest and dividend income – Schedule B, simple capital gains and losses – Schedule D, and most of the personal credits such as earned income credit, child tax credit, education credits, dependent care credit, etc. We generally cannot do more complicated returns like self-employment income – Schedule C, rent and royalty and K-1 income – Schedule E, and the like.”
The program is part of UST’s accounting program and the IRS VITA program. The UST/YMCA site has been one of the largest ones in the city, and volunteers do as many as 100 returns per Saturday. It is managed and run completely by UST students, alumni and friends, and this is a computerized VITA site. UST alumna Lucy Petry ’04, MBA ’08, CPA, is the site manager.
Interested parties should bring a copy of last year's return, if available, the social security cards of taxpayers, spouses and dependents, and the current year’s papers, such as W-2s, 1099s, bank and investment statements, 1098-T tuition and textbook payments, 1098-E student loan interest, 1098 mortgage interest and property taxes, child care provider statements, and other related documents. Returns should be able to be completed, printed and electronically filed within an hour.
When you arrive, sign up at the front desk of the YMCA, and there may be a wait before your tax consultation.
The tax filing is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Ramon Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MD Anderson YMCA, 713-697-0648 for further details.